A Day…

We have a fun saying in our family. It all started with Austin, who is known to be of few words. When I asked him how his day was, usually he says something like, “Worky.” Or “fine”. Occasionally, when the day has been particularly hard, tiring, or bothersome, he will say, “Today was a DAY.” I had one of those days last Tuesday. It was a day of firsts: first time going to an immigration office, and first time buying plane tickets at the airport the same day you are planning to fly.

All last week, the refinery wanted Austin back to work. We were in Jakarta, and Austin had not been cleared by his company to go back to work. Every day, we would wait for news, and pack a little here and there. When it became apparent that we weren’t leaving that day, we would relax a bit, go swimming, and wait for another day. Well, it got to a point where Landon and I needed our visa on entries renewed. We had to turn in the paperwork 7 days before they expired, and that time was fast approaching. The plan was that we would submit the paperwork in Jakarta (so we could have the help of an agent), go to Cilacap with Austin, then fly back to Jakarta when they were ready to be picked up. As the days wore on, it seemed like it would be more worth it for me to stay in Jakarta with Landon and wait for our visas to be processed before joining Austin in Cilacap. So Austin left Saturday, leaving me alone with Landon Saturday-Tuesday. Emails were exchanged and it seemed like we could go to the visa office Tuesday morning and make an afternoon flight. Monday afternoon, we got a call saying that the visa office would not be ready for us until Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning. So I went to extend our reservation at the Ritz. There was a huge event going on the specific days I needed extended, and there were no rooms available everywhere Austin’s company looked!

So now I know we have to check out Tuesday, and perhaps go to a different hotel and wait for our visas. So I pack our bags. We get an email back saying the agent is working really hard to get the immigration office to expedite our visas. We should be ready to pick them up by 10:00 the next morning. Tuesday came around. I was super nervous because we were homeless for the night if we didn’t make that last flight. This would make me nervous if I was by myself, but it was more nerve-wracking doing all of this with a toddler!

I finished packing and somehow made sure Landon didn’t unpack everything as I packed it. I got a call at 9:30 from Austin’s work saying that the visa agent guy was at the immigration office and could not pick us up. We would have to find our own way, and leave immediately. She called the hotel and told them the address. The Ritz printed out a map of how to get there for the taxi driver. The helper from Austin’s work said that it would take until 1:00 pm, and the Cilacap flight left at 2:30 pm. Not much time to drive all the way to the airport in Jakarta traffic!

The driver does a wonderful job getting to the general area of the office. The sweet staff at the Ritz had given Landon a going away present of framed pictures of all the things they did together with little trucks and army vehicles taped all over it. It was a huge blessing for Landon to have stuff to play with during our long taxi rides. The taxi driver drops us off at a building that he says is immigration. I walk inside. I’m the only white person. I’m holding Landon, who is not happy to be separated from his trucks. A security lady walks up and asks me what I want. I say I need my visa extended. She looks around and just starts laughing. She is looking for anyone that can speak a little English. Somebody waiting in the waiting room does speak a little, and explains that it is in those buildings over there, but behind. Nebulous at best for a mom carrying a 30 lb. toddler. I didn’t even have the paper with the address because the taxi driver had it! Fortunately, the taxi driver was waiting with our luggage and I was able to indicate to him that it was not the right building. I found the exact address, and he asked probably 4 or 5 people off the street where it was. The first time he asked was pretty classic- he pulls onto the wrong side of the road, turns on his hazards, gets out and talks to the guys for a few minutes. I’m just sitting in the taxi thinking, “Please nobody hit us!”

We find the building. I take Landon inside. It is the right building! The security guard says to go up to the 4th floor. Our visa agent is supposed to be meeting us right inside the building. I start up the stairs, and the visa agent is coming down the stairs. He takes us to an elevator, takes me up to the waiting area, which is full of people. He asks me to sit down on the front row. I do, and Landon’s name is called 5 minutes later, max. We go in and get pictures and fingerprints taken and we are free to go. The visa agent definitely did his job! So it’s around 11:00 at this point. I tell the taxi driver to take us to the small, domestic airport. I’m not sure he knows those words in English, so I tell him the name of the airline- Suzi Air. This is a small airline that only flies out of the small airport unless I am mistaken. We get onto a main expressway and I start seeing signs for the bigger, international airport. And the taxi driver asks me what terminal to go to. Then I know… he’s going to the wrong airport! I turn on the data on my phone and look up the name of the smaller, domestic airport. I say it to the driver, over and over again. “HALIM, HALIM!” He says, “Oh!” but did not say anything about going the wrong way. He just got off on the next exit and went a different way.

We pull up to the airport at 12:00. I try to explain to him that I want to go to ticketing because we don’t have tickets yet. He drops us off at departures. With all our baby junk. A porter comes and gets all of the bags through security before I realize that to get tickets, I need to go back out through security to another building. I take Landon and the stroller down to ticketing and leave the rest of our junk with the porter. Thankfully nothing was missing when we came back. I bought tickets for the flight and went back to wait for check-in, which only takes place an hour before the flight here. I didn’t want to leave our bags with the porter too long, so we didn’t pick up any lunch outside the airport- but we did end up getting cream puffs, which were delicious. Landon was starting to get ready for nap time so I parked all our luggage by a seat and walked around with him in the stroller for quite awhile. He finally fell asleep and I got to read my book for an hour before we checked in. Landon woke up, we checked in, and waited to get on the airplane. He really likes running away right now, so that’s what he was doing as I was trying to feed him quiche that I got to supplement our cream puffs from before. He even figured out that the doors out to the aircraft were not locked and he could just open them and run outside. FUN!

The flight was not too bad, except I was so stressed from the whole day and motion sick from all the crazy taxi driving that I felt like I was going to throw up. Landon played and looked at books and out the window. I was very happy to see staff from Dafam there to pick me up and take me to the hotel- when we arrived the first time no one came to get us for 30 minutes or so.

Then Austin, Landon and I were reunited. It was a sweet reunion, and I proclaimed that I was not going to take care of Landon anymore that day. It was my evening of rest. Austin had a surprise- we had to upgrade to the “Royal Suite” at the hotel because the hotel was sold out and many of the rooms are smoky. That meant we had a bathtub and a living room area which was nice because we could put Landon out there to sleep. Now we are back in a normal suite, and it’s still fine.

I am recording this because I know that before we started traveling, I could not have dealt with a day like this. I was comforted, guided and blessed. Landon was relatively calm and well behaved. It was a miraculous day and so many things could have gone wrong- and didn’t. Everything worked out much better than I expected. This is what happens when you ask God for help (and it is His will that everything works out!)


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